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that we had a conservative government after the next election, they will have their say and referendum on europe, but if we do not have a conservative government, we will not have a referendum? >> my honorable friend makes a good point. i believe is right to resettle our relationship with europe to make it more open, more competitive and more flexible, to make us feel more comfortable inside the union, and then to give the british people the referendum they deserve. >> can the prime minister confirm that 3.4 million families with someone who is disabled will be worse off as a result of his benefit uprating cap? why is he making more difficult for these families? >> first, i would say to the honorable lady that disability living allowance is not included in the cap. disability living allowance is not related to people's income. it is actually related to people's needs. if we look as a whole at what we're doing with disability
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living allowance and the personal independents payment, we see that the overall amount of money we're spending on disability is going to go up and knocked down. >> my right honorable friends admiration for the economic and political wisdom of our noble friend board heseltine as well known. and -- in light -- in light of his speech, would he consider inviting lord assault kind to conduct an inquiry into the consequences for the uk if we leave at the european union? -- lord heseltine to conduct an inquiry into the consequences for the uk if we leave at the european union? >> idol always listen closely to what he says. on the issue of europe, we have not always agreed. he was a leading proponent of a joint of britain -- of britain joining the single currency. i have always been opposed to that.
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on the issue of the referendum, a gently remind my right honorable and learned friend that referendum was very much a part of his manifesto at the last election. in the interests of coalition harmony, i think we will leave that to one side. >> a constituent of mine with a chronic medical condition tells me that he has just 20 pounds a week to spend on food and clothing after tabling his utility bills, and after the welfare cuts in april he will just have to adopt -- 2 pounds a day. if the prime minister believes that we are all in this together, will he agree to review the impact of the welfare cuts and the very poorest, so that my constituents sacrifices are in line with his own? >> will look very closely at what the honorable gentleman says and the circumstances. it is worth making the point that we compared 2013 with 2010 in terms of the level of key benefits, we will see that an unemployed person on a job
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seeker's allowance is getting 325 pounds more this year than in 2010. a couple of job-seekers allowance are getting 500 pounds more. a single out of work mother, four hundred 20 pounds more. what the opposition is trying to do a week after week, is somehow can picture that we have unfairly cut welfare. it is simply not true. >> order. >> health inequalities in the country are persistent and damaging. recently the department of health announced a 5.5% increase in its allocation to local authorities for their public health responsibilities and 10% increase for that firm and consistent. does the prime mr. agree that those funds, locally directed, will help tackle long-term health and quality? >> my honorable friend makes an important point. for many years, public health budgets were rated in order to deal with issues and problems in the nhl is.
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because we put in place an increase in any test budget -- we have faced -- ring-fenced some of the budgets -- we're able to make sure that we tackle some of the real problems, such as smoking, diabetes, and other issues. >> the house that -- has heard the prime minister is looking forward to meeting people from national and international banks. when will he visit a food bank? >> let me once again praise what the banks do in our country and let me point out to the honorable gentleman that the use of food banks increased 10 times under the last labor government. >> will the prime minister dominique in paying to beat all the athletes who took part in the british transplant games held in my constituency? linked to that, will he encourage people to register for organ donation, which will help to save lives? >> i certainly take all those
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who took part in the british transplant games and to the many volunteers who made these games such a success. dealing hemet did a fantastic job and hosting the games. -- gillingham did a fantastic job >> 77 of warrington's young people with the most complex special needs a seeing without places next year because of government cuts to post-16-needs funding. why should the most vulnerable young people in my constituency bid price for the prime minister's economic failure? >> let me make a point to the honorable lady that the reason we're having to make cuts is because of the mess left by her government. no one wants to have to make the difficult decisions but we've had to make and the government, but i would argue that when it comes to helping the disabled, helping the most vulnerable, this government has always looked after them. >> last but not least, i call
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chris been blunt. >> pitt the younger said that europe was not be saved by any single man, and then correctly went on to predict that englander would save europe by her example. i believe at my right honorable friend is in danger of concrete -- contradicting pitt, because his example today and his exertions over the next four years stand the best possible chance of rescuing the european union for both europe and britain. >> he makes an important point, which is the agenda that britain's -- which is that britain is not simply saying, this is what britain wants and we don't get it, we will leave it. it is an agenda that is good for the whole of the european union. we face a mass of competitiveness challenge from the rise in countries of the south and east. we must accept that europe at the moment is not working properly. it is adding to business costs, adding to regulation, and we need to change that not just for
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the sake of britain but for those right across european union. >> you have been watching prime minister's questions. you can watch any time at c- span.org where you can find videos a past, ministers questions and other british public affairs programming. >> next, a house hearing on military sexual assault. then defense secretary leon panetta announces he's lifting the ban on women in combat. then at iowa gov. terry branstad gives his condition of the state address. >> we have created a platform that we call a digital health feedback system. the main components are an adjustable center that turned on when you swallow it. it communicates with your body. it sends information to a level patch that you wear on your
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torso. it collects information about your physiology and the medicines use wallop. sleep, temperature, or treat. this will give you a panel of a physiological wellness. it communicates through radio and enables us to take the data, process it, and give it back to you in an application that will help you manage yourself. >> we are at an inflection point. now, "calls it in point. we have had all these incremental amazing changes over the past five years, and now we are poised to make some great leaps in these complex diseases. our understanding of cancer over the past couple of years has board -- dwarfed all our understanding. >> monday night on the communicators on c-span2.
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>> on wednesday, there was a hearing regarding sexual misconduct in it -- in the u.s. air force. air force chief of staff -- staff general mark welsh testified, as did two retired veterans to get a firsthand accounts. this is three hours. -- who gave firsthand accounts. this is three hours.
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>> good morning. thank you for joining us for a hearing of the 113th congress. we will begin with a subject the committee has been addressing for a number of years. i find it disturbing that despite the collective work of congress, the department of defense and the dedicated groups who advocate on behalf of these victims of sexual misconduct remains a problem within our armed forces. today we meet to receive testimony on sexual misconduct by instructors at lackland air force base. these are the most recent of assaults that have plagued our military for far too long. 32 instructors have been found guilty or charged with or being investigated for crimes against 59 trainees beg it is question, how could this have happened? how could this system and the
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leadership failed to protect the men and women who serve our nation from sexual predators who also wear the uniform? >> while i applaud the air force for pursuing investigations to find answers to these questions, i am particularly disturbed in there was significant delay reporting the allegations to proper authorities when they came to light. equally troubling was no action was taken when the delay was uncovered. this to me is unacceptable. i look forward to hearing from the generals, how the air force has addressed these issues to eliminate the possibility that sexual misconduct goes undetected in the future. make no mistake, congress shares the responsibility for preventing sexual assault within the military and assuring victims that their cases will be prosecuted to the fullest exp tent of the law.
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over the past five years we have joined forces to put real reforms into place. we've assured victims are taken seriously, provided medical care and support and the cases are investigated and prosecuted. last year congress passed reforms in how the military tracks sexual assault to paint a picture of just how big the problem is. we also established a commission to take a critical look at the uniform code of med teenage justice and make recommendations for reform to make sure that the system can successfully prosecute sexual assault. however, legislation is not the only answers. commanders at every level in every service must make eliminating sexual assault and all forms of sexual misconduct from their commands the highest of priorities. senior leaders at all levels must hold accountable for pursuing allegations of sexual misconduct.
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we will accept nothing less. i understand that the air force has already made several changes to improve the safety and effectiveness of basic training. i would like to hear from our second panel if the safeguards put in place are sufficient. i have no doubt that there is more to be done. my visit to lackland in september renewed my belief that the young men and women who volunteer to join our armed forces are the finest in the nation. they have earned the respect of the nation. they deserve the respect from their leaders and fellow service members. before i ask smith for his opening remarks i'd like to remind the air force continues to prosecute the remaining cases at lackland. when military perpetrators of sexual assault are tried, public statements especially senior leaders about the guilty
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or innocence of an alleged perpetrator can be perceived as or even may be un-- there may be undo command influence on the outcome of the trial. >> it could be used as ground for mistrial by defense attorneys. that isn't an outcome anyone wants. to that i will give latitude to answer questions to the extent it will not prejudice ongoing criminal prosecutions. we're all committed to eradicating sexual assault in our armed forces but first we must respect the victim's need for short and justice. >> icon cur in all of your remarks and i thank you for that strong statement. i too have a statement which i'll submit for the record and i'll sum rise. i thank you for the leadership you've shown on this issue.
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this is a very serious problem, being able to protect the men and women in our military is job one. if there is not trust. if they do not trust the people leading them then the entire system breaks down. sexual assault and sexual violence is a major problem throughout the military and that's a big point to keep in mind throughout this hearing. this is not just lackland. this is an extreme example, one i hope we can learn from. one that needs to be resolved. the cases need to be prosecuted and we need to get to the bottom of what happened. but this is a problem that has plagued the military for too long. we on this committee and throughout the military need to address it to make sure our military can function at the level we need to it. i want to thank the generals. we've had many meetings and it's apparent to me the department of defense takes this issue very seriously and is trying to do their best to
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figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. wes completely unacceptable got to this point, that it wasn't solved before this. we are now seeing the seriousness from the department of defense that i think is warranted. there are too many members on this committee to name that have taken a leadership role on this to make the changes necessary to protect our men and women from this type of assault and violence. so i thank them for that leadership as well. going forward we have to do much better than we've done. to learn what are the changes, to do a better job of protecting our men and women. at the end of the day, the culture needs to change. i've heard a number of members talk about this. basically when it gets to the point if you're serving in the
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military, you know that your advancement in the military is dependent upon protecting the men and women and being out front to protect the victims and make it clear throughout your command this is unacceptable behavior that will be punished. when everybody in the military knows that is one of the things they will be judged on for advancement, when that cultural change is made, that's when we have succeeded. i thank you for being here this morning. i look forward to the testimony and the members questions. >> thank you very much. at this time without objection i ask unanimous consent that an additional statement from the center of readiness be included in the record of this hearing.
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without objection so ordered. i want to echo mr. smith's comments about general welsh and general rise. they have been most helpful and those who conducted the investigation. i couldn't commend them more for the seriousness in which they've taken and the leadership they've brought to this issue. this time now i understand we may have votes at any time. so what i would like to do in the interest of trying to make sure that we have time to properly conduct this hearing, if we just have one vote on the rule we will not break. we'll ask the members to go vote and keep moving so that we can expedite this. we'll hear from general welsh and he'll divide the time up between him and general rice. >> thank you for the opportunity to speak with you
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today. this topic is obviously a tough one. thewe don't have to enjoy subject to appreciate the privilege of being before this committee. thank you for the opportunity. and general rice and i are honored to be here. i'd like to start by having general rice give you an update on the basic military training investigations at lackland and i'll follow that with a few service wide things we're doing to learn from it and to do everything we can to ensure that it never happens again. >> certainly. >> thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the air force's investigation into sexual misconduct by basic military training instructors at our basic military training complex at joint base san antonio lackland in san antonio texas.
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we have done a comprehensive investigation. over 550 investigators have been involved which they interest conducted over 77,000 700 interviews. although we have conducted a look back, the vast majority of the allegations are alleged misconduct that occurred over the past three years. during this three year period 8555 airmen have been assigned to instructor duty. of this group of instructors, we have completed disciplinary action against eight. we have court marshall charges against another nine and 15
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others are under investigation. the allegations against these instructors range from sexual assault to the inappropriate contact with students after they graduated from basic military training and were no longer under the authority of the instructor. that the point, 24 of the military training instructors are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. we have identified 59 victims or alleged victims of this criminal activity or misconduct. regardless of whether a victim or alleged victim was the victim of a sexual assault, the recipient of an inappropriate e-mail or willingly participated in an unprofessional relationship with an instructor in violation of established policy, we have offered each of them the full range of victim support services. and no victim or alleged victim
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has been charged with a policy violation or otherwise held accountable as part of this investigative process. the 32 instructors who have been disciplined or who are under investigation represent he has than 4% of the instructors who have served in basic military training over the past three years and i believe it is important to underscore that the vast majority of our instructors serve with distinction in a very demanding duty assignment. that said, it is completely unacceptable to us that so many of our instructors have committed crimes or violated our policies and we clearly failed in our responsibility to maintain good order and discipline among too many of our instructors in basic military training. among the most important and
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fundamental responsibilities of command is the requirement to maintain good order and discipline among the members of the military organization. this responsibility cannot be delegated. all of the changes we are making in basic military training are directed in one way or another at helping our commanders discharge this fundamental responsibility. although it is still very early, the evidence indicates that our efforts are making a difference. we have not had a reported incident of sexual misconduct in basic military training in the past seven months. this is not to say that we believe we are nearing the end of our work. on the contrary. we know this is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning of a
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journey that can never end. the key to success over the next weeks and months and years is to sustain the intense level of focus we have devoted to this issue over the past nine months. to this end, i believe the most significant action we are taking to address this critical issue is the establishment of the recruiting, education and training oversight council. this council will include the senior leadership of my command and will one, review the progress and effectiveness of the actions we are now implementing. two, provide an expanded perspective on future actions we will take to prevent problems from recurring. and three, advise me on strategic issues affecting airman safety in basic military training. in short, this council will help us institution lies the
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intense level of focus we must sustain if we are to successfully defeat the threat of sexual misconduct in the basic military training environment. i look forward to your questions after general welsh's remarks. thank you. >> i completely agree that the b.m.t. investigations don't mark the end of anything. the air force has recommitted itself that every airman is treated with respect. it's a way of life. this has been stunning to most of us in the air force. there is simply no excuse for us or no justifiable explanation and there is no way we can allow this to happen again. the goal is not to lower the number. the goal is zero. it's the only acceptable objective. the impact on every victim, their family and friend and the
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other people in their unit is heart wrenching. we are giving this our full attention. out of the 46 recommendations, 23 are fully implemented, 22 more will be implemented by november of this year and the final has been separated and has to do with shortening the length of basic military training itself and that's being reviewed. some of these recommendations have culpability to the entire air force and we're working into building them into the program into our air force leadership training at every level and into our investigative and legal processes. since becoming the chief of staff i've worked hard to express my concern with sexual assault and i've shared my thoughts with every level of our air force. they understand, especially our
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senior commanders understand that the american people trust us with their greatest treasure, their sons and daughters. they expect us to lead them with honor, to value each of them and to treat them as if they were our own. we do not have a greater responsibility than that. every air force commander must be actively engaged in this effort. if they don't, i consider them part of the problem. i met with our four star generals in october to make sure they knew how i felt about this subject. not surprisingly they all felt the same. i directed them to come to washington in late november so that i could discuss this issue with them face to face. there is no room for misunderstanding as we move forward from here. secretary donnelly approved an inspection during the first two weeks of december. the intent was to provide every
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airman an environment to allow them to excel and each of them is treated with respect. details of this have been publicly released. i reinforced the fact that obscene, disrespectful images or songs or traditions are not part of our heritage and will not be accepted as part of our culture. while these things do not relate to sexual assault they create an environment of unprofessional relationships. and i believe those are indicators for sexual assault. we are aligned with sexual assault policies with the secretary of defense and joint chiefs of staff. we've created several victims teams comprised of investigators and attorneys who have received training in sexual
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assault cases. that has been encouraged and supported by members of this committee and i appreciate that. 60 air force attorneys have been identified and trained to serve as victim's counsel. that program goes fully into effect on the 28th of january but in fact we've assigned several victim's counsel to victims around the air force. we continue to employee over 3100 victim advocates. we are on track to hire and place a full time fully accredited victim advocate at every installation by october 1 of this year. there are many other things we're doing to deal with this problem i'll be happy to discuss during question and answer period. i will never stop attacking this problem. we will never slow down our efforts to ensure our victims
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receive the best, most capable and thoughtful care and advice possible until we can eliminate the problem. and i promise every member of the committee that we will never quit working to eliminate this horrible crime from the ranks of our air force. thank you for the help you've given us in this effort and the time you're spending here today. general rice and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. i just was informed when we do have the vote, it will be three votes so we will have to recess and return as quickly as we can after the votes. general welsh, during your confirmation hearing you testified everyone in the air force is trying to do the right thing and figure out some way of stopping sexual assault. i don't think this is an incident only at lackland. i don't think it's an incident only in the air force.
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i don't think it's only in the military. i think it's a society al problem. we cannot fix the societal problem. we can address the air force problem. i know talking to the chiefs, they are looking at all of the branches of the military. you acknowledged what was being done at the was not adequate to reverse the trend. what are your thoughts on how the air force can reverse the trend? do you have some specific examples other than what you've mentioned already that still need to be done? >> mr. chairman, i think there are a lot of things that need to be done and we need to do them from now on. the biggest thing is committing to dealing with people on an individual level every day by every supervisor and commander. i don't think institutional
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directives will solve the problem. i think caring for every airman will help solve the problem. we've tried a number of initiatives while some of them may be successful and may be helping the problem, we're certainly not reversing the trend in a dramatic way. so we need to keep looking for new and different ways to approach the problem. as we find things that work, we should expand on them. the special victim's counsel i believe is a good example. if we can get the 30% or so of the victims who report as unrestricted and allow to us begin an investigation who then step away because of concerns about a number of things, i won't go into all the details why they decide not to participate in a prosecution. but some of those clearly are related to the way we conduct an investigation, the way they feel as they go through the follow up care and preparation for trial.
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we have to eliminate those things and keep those victims engaged in the process of finding and removing the perpetrators because if we don't there will be additional victims. there are predators who commit this crime. there are predators. we have to find them, hopefully screen them out early if there are tools that allow to us do that before they come into the military. if not, we have to find that from people around them who know them. and if they commit a crime we have to stop them after the first one and not allow them to continue. we have to work hard to identify those activity that is lead to bad behavior and there are a number of them. we deal with our children all the time. our airman are no different. they are in the same circles. a young man who binge drinks and loses control. let's stop the drinking. let's identify the behavior early.
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but that takes a clear understanding of the issue starting with our youngest airmen and youngest officers. i think that's the key, mr. chairman. >> the command directed the investigation in addition yated by you general rice found that the f.t.a. levels at lackland did not support optimum oversight during basic training. the report recommends increasing manning. given that the air force is drawing down personnel and is facing continued reduce budgets, how will you fill these extra f.t.i. requirements? >> thank you mr. chairman. as i reported to the chief and the sec of the air force and
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talked about the resource requirement that is would be necessary in order for us to implement fully the recommendations, i am happy to say that resources were not a constraint in terms of my ability to address the issues. i asked for more military training instructors. they have been authorized. we are in the process of hiring them and training them. in the meantime, we have effectively achieved the impact of having two military training instructors assigned to each flight which is the instate we want to get to by bringing in temporary instructors on temporary duty status and rearguing some of the staff positions to put them on the line, if you will, to perform military training instructor duty because we thought that was important to do now and not wait for the assignment and personnel process in the training process
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quite frankly to catch up. so we are -- have been authorized the additional positions by the air force. quite frankly, the long pole in the tent is our ability to effectively train enough instructors. we are in the process of doing that now but that will take a little bit of time for us to complete. in the meantime, i'm satisfied we've been able to achieve the effect through other mechanisms. >> the investigation directed by general patrick response to the m.t.i. misconduct found there was significant delay in reporting. when the commander learned of the delay, no corrective action was taken. what actions have you taken to address these failures and raise awareness among the leaders of the importance of aggressively pursuing reports of misconduct?
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. in the specific instance i believe you're referring to in the command directed investigation, i directed a separate investigation into the delayed reporting and did find there was culpability among the members of the supervisory chain in terms of informing the commander. and i have held people accountable for that delay in reporting. i did find in that specific incidence that when the commander knew of it he took appropriate action initially. but there were other instances identified in the command directed investigation in other areas we have discovered through other means where i was not satisfied with the action that is commanders and other leaders took in response to reports of misconduct. we have addressed that in a must be of different ways.
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to and include putting in place mandatory reporting requirements such that any incident of misconduct or maltreatment must immediately be reported up the chain of command, not just to the squadron commander but to the wing commander and two star commander who has overall responsibility for non-flying training within the air force. if it involves sexual conduct this report must occur within 4 hours and the alleged offender is removed immediately from the position of either the staff position or the instructor position until we've had enough time to sort through the details of what went on and ensure that it's proper to either go to an investigation fully or to place that instructor back into the duty position. so partly we've handled it through this idea of having mandatory reporting procedures that allow us to ensure that these -- that the proper information is transmitted to the proper people at the right
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times in order to deal with this. i would say a second order we've dealt with this has to do with the level of seniority and experience that we have placed now in the basic military training environment such that we have more senior experienced and seasoned leaders and supervisors making decisions about what constitutes an infraction and what doesn't and what should be done about it. this is not an environment where we want to test or determine whether someone is a good leader, whether someone has had supervisory experience. it's a place we bring people who have demonstrated strong ability to supervise and a strong history of making good decisions.
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part of what you have seen in the changes we have made is to get more experienced leaders into these positions so when they get that information they can make better decisions. thank you. >> thank you. after ranking member smith's questions, we will recess. mr. smith. >> thank you mr. chairman. i think you covered the subject pretty thoroughly. how do you measure success going forward? it's difficult because on the one hand you can say we have fewer sexual assaults but you don't want people to be not reporting. are you making progress just within the air force? what are you looking for to figure out whether or not you are moving forward making progress and getting to the point where you eliminate sexual assault within the air force?
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>> one of the things i think we need to do is establish and maintain a clear baseline of information. in 2010 we conducted a survey that gave us numbers on the incident and prevalence of sexual assault and reporting within the air force. we are in the process now of contracting for the follow up survey of that, the 2013 survey to follow up on the initial baseline and see which direction we happen to be moving. is our reporting increasing and if , so why. are the types of incidents changing, is the demographic of the victim changing? all of those things are critical to baseline our effort and figure out what is working and what isn't working. i think the other thing is the feedback we get from people within the air force. we have made an effort to get to a discussion at the unit level of treating each other with
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respect. the feedback we are getting is interesting. because it's clear we haven't done enough in this area, that people don't feel valued. that we have a number of our air force that's been going along to get along that are uncomfortable with things in their work environment, whether it's mannerisms or poor language or pictures on the wall or whatever it might be. >> that is very important. you have to talk to people. what sit that's making them feel intimidated and it may surprise what that is exactly. so understanding that i think is critical so i appreciate you making that point. go ahead. >> i think that's where it starts. the other thing we need to do is identify the numbers in a clear way so that we can have an unemotional logical discussion about a very emotional topic about how we are doing in prosecution etc. and what are the tools we can use to get better. we have major disconnect in our numbers versus if you look at the prosecutors numbers on the outside.
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i don't think the numbers are that far apart. i base that on the fact i took the air force numbers and asked our advocate to use the rain methodology to compute our percentages for prosecutions. internally when we did that we were within a percentage point of most of the mean data that they have. what we've done to follow sup take that to reign and sit with a representative from rain and together put these numbers together so we can share with you what the numbers are relative to a standard or a baseline in the non-military world just so we can determine where the problems really exist. we spent a lot of time focused
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on numbers and if the numbers aren't consistent, if we're not talking apples to apples it's hard to figure out where you put the most effort. the level of resources we apply has to have the most effect. >> i have one more quick question. >> i briefly prosecuted domestic violence cases and sometimes the victims won't come forward. within the military you've got to broad cultural challenges we talked about. but you have punishment and things that the normal criminal justice system wouldn't have. how are you planning on using those options in situations where you may not be able to prosecute because of various evidence things but you still know there is a problem that needs to be addressed?
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>> can you explain some of the discretion you use in the military chain of command to change the culture and discourage this behavior? >> yes. i'll make a general comment then specific. of the lackland cases of the 59 incidents we are investigating, 45 of those we couldn't prosecute under sexual assault. they were prosecuted for unprofessional relationships. that is an opportunity we have to engage on where you might have a difficult time prosecuted outside the military. for a little more detail let me ask ed to expand on that. >> i think commanders have and will continue to use the entire suite of tools they have to enforce discipline. the court marshall process using the military code of justice is only one of those tools. and in the cases that we are looking atlanta lackland we have cases where as a commander looked at all of the evidence that was available to him or her decided that a court marshall was not the appropriate venue to get to the right answer in terms of justice in that case, so they used some of the other tools
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that are available to them. uniquely in the military justice system. i think it's not as well understood often times in terms of the decision that is commanders make in terms of the venue that is used to achieve the right outcome in a case. and the fact that we can use non-judicial punishment and in other forms that would have the same sanction as you would find in a court marshall but are done in a way that does not require the same level of standards of proof that a court marshall would is a very important tool that commanders can use in order to enforce discipline and get to a better outcome in more cases than if they did not have that tool. i think that's very important. >> i appreciate that. i think we are going to run and vote so i will yield back.
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thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. the committee will stand at recess for about 15 minutes or so. thank you very much. >> the committee will come to order. mr. wilson. >> thank you mr. chairman and generals welsh and rice thank you for being here today. it's really uplifting to me as you were quoting air force secretary michael donnelly. he indicated that the air force is a family. and that's the way i believe too.
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and for me it's firsthand. my dad flew in the army air corp. i have a nephew serving in the air force today. i served in the army guard and reserve. i have four sons serving in the army and navy today. it is family and we want the best for our family members. we want them to achieve to their highest a fulfilling military service which is opportunity. so the issues you're dealing with must be addressed. i'm particularly grateful to general rice that you were ahead of the curve. your leadership and by selecting major general wood ward to conduct the investigation has been so positive and i want to thank you.
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and i would be grateful if any of my family nebs could serve with you so thank you for what you've done. and indeed with the report, she in meeting with her i was so impressed by her determination. and she of course came through with 22 findings. and the findings then directed 46 recommendations. and these 46 recommendations are real world ways to address the problems for the best of our military. and i know that you'll be implementing 45 of the 46 recommendations. and from each of you i'd like to get a report on what is the status of implementing these recommendations? >> thank you, sir. we have to date implemented 23 of the 46 recommendations. as you know, there was one that i decided was not appropriate for this forum so we are going to implement 45 of the 46 and we have completed our implementation of 23 of them.
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some of the most important near term actions we've been able to complete especially as it addresses leadership and as i indicated in response to an earlier question t reporting requirements to ensure that leadership is notified in a timely manner of issues. we are on pace to implement the remaining recommendations, 22, by november of this year. some of them require a more deliberate process for implementation such as ensuring that we get the right leaders in position through the assignment cycle instead of just pulling people in who may not be appropriate for the position. as i indicated earlier, we've got to go through the right process for training. we have some experience of what
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happens when we try to overload the training system. we did that not too long ago and the results were not satisfactory. so i've directed we do this in an aggressive but deliberate manner so we get quality training done. i'm comfortable that we have taken action on the most important recommendations near term. those that we couldn't implement in the way that we want to finally implement them, we have taken initial temporary action to achieve the end state. and i am briefed weekly on our progress in implementing the rest and we will get at those quickly. >> indeed, i worked on such issues as a jag officer in the national guard. a concern i have are trainees being reluctant to report misconduct. there is concerns about retaliation. how is this being addressed?
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>> you highlighted one of the most challenging issue that is we have and that is how do we get quality feedback from everyone, both trainees, instructors and others who are part of this system? >> we have a system of getting feedback now but it's not effective enough. when i looked at the 59 victims he has than a handful of them came to us to provide us feedback on what happened. totally unsatisfactory. we have to find a better way of connecting with them. as part of the investigative process we've broken important ground on how to do that better as an institution. you can't just ask the question once and expect the initial
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answer is always going to provide an accurate assessment of what is going on. and so how we talk to people and the persistence with which we engage them in the right way is very key to this. we also know that although victims themselves won't talk to us or report for any number of reasons, they do talk to other people in many cases. they talk to their friend, they talk to their family, they talk to co-workers and by engaging those people in the right way, we have been able to get a great deal of additional information on the cases that we have today. i believe this area of feedback and accurate feedback is one that we are going to continue to explore. i've asked this issue to be looked at specifically. it's easy for me to write down a bunch of questions over a couple of hours and think that i have an effective survey. the actual facts tell us that isn't very effect i have and to do this right requires a sophisticated understanding of people and how they feel about these issues. so they've begun this process and i think are going to help us
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understand how better to get at this area of better feedback. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> ms. sanchez. >> thank you. my question is of those military training instructors who have been convicted or currently under investigation in the lackland case, did their service record show any history of sexual behavior prior to this? >> i'm not aware of any that showed any behaviors of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. we have a screening process that before you can become military training instructor, we look back at your history for five years and you had to have essentially a clean history. that was waiverable by the group commander and so that's another area where we have addressed that process to look at the background screening program and
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to assure ourselves that is we are doing everything that we can to not bring -- as i said earlier, not bring people into this environment that don't have a very strong and proven record of disciplinary history in addition to job performance. >> in the air force, if an airman or airwoman is assigned to be involved in a sexual harassment case, how does the air force proceed? >> the same way we deal with any other misconduct. e.c.m.j. is a process available to them. you go through the process and make what you believe is a proper decision. >> if you are being screened and want to be an instructor and
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you've had sexual harassment in the past on the job, would it necessarily be on your record? >> i can create a scenario where it would not be. >> various scenarios where it would not be? >> yes. >> because it's at the discretion of commanders or certain people how they deal wit. and a lot of times the sexual harassment in this type of situation may not show up on somebody's record, am i correct? >> i believe you and i might disagree on the terms a lot of times. i wouldn't tolerate it as a commander. >> you wouldn't tolerate it. but there are various instances where the commander can do various things? >> certainly it's happened. >> if this instructor want to be instructor is being transferred to another unit, would that new commander necessarily know that they had had a sexual harassment
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episode in the past? >> let me answer generically then i'll ask ed to address a specific issue. if an individual was transferred as a result of poor performance related to sexual harassment i will be astonished if it wasn't in their record. if they were being transferred as a part of routine transfer and the sec sexual harassment wasn't substantiated it wouldn't be. >> or if the commander decided it would be handled in a different way it would not be on their record? >> that could happen. if i or the commander or the one next to me knew about a commander acting that way, we would remove them from command. >> i wish all of the commanders
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were held to that standard. they don't actually hold themselves to that standard. i'm asking these questions because i'm trying to find out, you know, we have seen through studies that sexual harassment leads in many cases to sexual assault. and so we have to be cognizant of trying to handle these things, these issues and to really put it on people's records so that we don't promote them, move them, etc. and let them know they got away wit in this case, sometimes it's a progressive sort of situation. so my next question is about the air force commanders conduct of climate assessments in september 2011 told us this wasn't consistently done. how sit done in the air force? we've put it in the fiscal year 2013 n.d.a. that climate report have to be done.
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there are two reasons they don't like to it. commanders are resistant to conducting them and they lacked an equal opportunity advisor to conduct them. what are you doing about this? because if we had climate assessment some of this harassment situation might have been put forward? what are you doing now? >> i would like that written for the record please? >> noted. >> i appreciate you holding this hearing and the other hearings you have also held and the attention trying to address the sexual assault. you've been a leader on this. i appreciate your support.
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you have been a great advocate as we've worked with the senate on these provisions. >> gentleman, we know why this happens. it happens where we come to this time where we say how in the military, could there have been such a systematic breakdown of leadership and not know? we know why. it is absolutely an issue of culture. we can try to pass laws, we can try to pass legislation, but until we break the culture that allows the environment for this to occur we're never going to be able to make the changes from the seats of congress. it has to come from the seats and the leadership that you
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have. i want to thank you because i believe you have turned to this issue. focus on the issue of culture to identify how bad this is and why the military d.o.d. needs to address this issue first of culture. i had two tragedies occur in my district. we had a marine came forward with the accusation of rape and was murdered. and my office provided assistance to her. i want to read to you a letter i got back from the marines. after she was murdered by her accused, we contacted the marines and asked them how they did not know that she was at risk for a violent crime or action or assault and they wrote back this letter to me. i have it from the attorney general. i asked him doesn't a rape accusation contain an element of force or threat?
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this is the letter going to. the victim never alleged any violence or threat of violence in any sexual encounter. have you heard of a nonviolent rape? general rice? >> no. >> general welch? >> no, i have not. >> i appreciate that. that is basically, the part of the problem with the culture to understand that this is a crime. this is violence. we were a marine's house sitting around his dining room table. we were having a discussion on the issue of culture and the need to change the culture in the department of defense. we were all done. we all identified the issues that needed to be addressed and the wife said before you leave you need to hear this.
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she turned to a senior female officer and said to her, can you tell them what you told me earlier? if you were subject to assault would you report it? she said no. i would like to address that issue with both of you because clearly that is the culture. the concern is the fear of coming forward of the fact that they would be subject to re- victimization. their career would be subject to disadvantage. as we hear all the stories of the victim, the basic issues is their concern of fear of coming forward. i want to ask both of you, you have to see in the culture of the military part of the problem of what happened in these number of cases that you have is the fear of people who are victims from coming forward. i want to ask you to discuss that, the fear of the victims
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coming forward. general welsh you made a comment that i cringed at. it comes to the disconnect in the view of this. you said we have to stop bad behavior. this is not bad behavior this is a crime. we only have 30 seconds but if you could begin to comment on that. >> the bad behavior i was referring to is the behavior before a crime is committed. it is committed by people who will commit a crime by the perpetrators. why what was undoubtedly the worst day of a victim's life did they not turn to us for help? we go toward with them, we protect each other's lives. we're missing something
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fundamental in the human-to- human interaction that allows them tow feel safe enough for them to come to us and let us help them through this horrible part of our life. >> if you make this that your priority we will go a long way in addressing this. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as congressman turner alluded to i think you know many of us on this committee take this issue seriously and many of us who have worked so hard to address it. so i thank you both for the efforts you have put forth to address sexual misconduct in the air force. it is a crime that shocks us with his irregularity.-- its
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regularity. most recently in bringing all the 164 wing commanders to washington to discuss the serious issue. i think you all know that in other words for changes to really take hold the culture of the military has to change. it is a multifaceted effort. what brought me to this issue was meeting with a nurse soon after i had been elected to congress, about five years ago. she had been deployed several times. she had never been sexual assaulted but i asked her if it was as prevalent as i had heard. she said she was more afraid of her own soldiers than of the enemy. this culture change has to happen among the enlisted service members as well. as you talk about what you're doing and you're starting at the top, how do you change culture across the 80%?
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what are you doing at that level? how do you encourage everyone to embrace the efforts that you are currently engaged in? i fear that you don't and you are not successful there, we will come back again and again. you will tell us your good stories but we will continue to hear shocking situations that you have said will not occur again. >> thank you, congresswoman for giving me an opportunity to comment. i did not say this won't comment again. we will do everything we can to prevent it. we can't accept this. it is horrible, we all know that. human behavior, as you know, it is difficult to change. i don't believe the entire air force has a culture of sexual assault. i don't believe that.
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i believe there are units, there are places over time, as people change and personalities take over. that is what happened a lackland in this investigation. i don't believe that everybody in the united states air force accepts the culture of sexual assault. we have officers, we have n.c.o.'s, we have civilians in our air force who has daughters working with airman. they will not tolerate an environment with sexual assault. >> what do you do to change the culture at the 80%? what are the specific steps you can take to address that? >> you start with simple things. we try to increase the battle
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rhythm to address this issue. this is a sheet that shows activities from january to march of 2013. there are things like videos to the force. it is commander's conferences. it is command chief conferences. every chief and every squad is getting together with a wing command chief to discuss the issue. it is roll call at the flight level. it is in every training, it is in every p.e. course. it is a matter of getting the discussion going and keeping it going not just for a short period of time so it becomes part of who we are and part of how we operate. >> how do you institutionalize that when you are no longer the air force chief of staff? how do you make their that continues? >> i meet every week with the response team on the air staff.
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if i'm out of town, my advice chief meets with the lieutenant and our experts in this area. we create activities, what i asked them to do is bring in something new, something we haven't tried. some idea they found from some where else, from a university that seemed to work or in a certain base or certain demographic group. then we create a battle rhythm where we're creating new ideas and we stop doing the ones that don't have a major impact. it has to be part of the fabric on how we operate. it is no different on how we operate aircraft every day. we meet, we come up with new approaches. we have to do the same thing on the command side of the house. that is where we're starting. >> the time has expired. mr. coffman. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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general rice, general welsh thank you both for coming here today to testify on the problems of sexual assault in air force basic training at lackland. one question i have, general rice i think you mentioned one of the conclusions out of this was to reduce the training time, the number of weeks, i guess at the lackland air force base, is that correct? >> it was a recommendation that was in the commander director investigation. it was the 46th recommendation that i said i would deal with in a different forum. we looking at the length of basic military training. the lengths will be determined by the training we need to accomplish and not based specifically on addressing this issue.
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>> thank you. let me just tell you, obviously your training is inadequate. off culture in the united states air force that allows these sexual assaults to occur by your senior enlisted personnel during basic training. i've gone -- the purpose of basic training or this entry level period of training in any of the branches of service, and i've been through two of them. it is to take that marine, sailor into the culture of the service and into the rules associated with the uniform that spans all over our services equally. obviously, something is missing in that training. so i would ask you, you need to reinforce that training, not reduce the training. they need to come out of this, the airman, the men and women in uniform that service in the united states air force with a solid understanding of what the values of the united states air force are.
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because obviously those senior enlisted that perpetrated these crimes were not sufficiently trained into the united states air force. would you like to respond? >> yes, sir. i appreciate the question. what makes this so egregious in basic military training is for the reasons you stated. this is the place where we have to teach the basic values of our service on our newest airman. when we violate the trust and the responsibility it is difficult to describe the damage that happens to those individuals and to us as an institution. i agree 100%. i would say you're right, there is an element of training to this.
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at the end of the day, we have people who knew well what the rules and policies were, who knew well the difference between right and wrong and decided to make a wrong choice. so part of that i can address with training. part of this has to do with people's values on what they perceive as wrong and what is right. how i get at that is partially training. i think i've got to think more broadly about how i affect someone's calculus and their actions they are going to take. the requisition that some people are not going to be persuaded by the training that i have. the consequences of their actions are going to be negative enough that they are going to take it. as much as i concentrating on
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the training piece of this, i am also focusing on the deter and hold accountable piece because there are people that i have to do that with. >> i would agree with you on a critical point. that is this, i think it is important that those entering service have a moral foundation. i think you're right. people that don't have a moral foundation, you can put them through the toughest training in the world. at the end of the day, everything will be as calculus as you described as to what is the risk and reward for my conduct versus what is the morally right thing to do. i do want to stress that discipline come from that entry level training.
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of course, i think it has to be reinforced at all times. but thank you for your testimony today. i yield back. >> gentleman's time will expire. mr. castro. >> thank you, chairman. i proudly represent san antonio, texas the home of lackland air force base. i think when there are scandals like this i think two things must happen. first, we must make sure that justice is quickly served. second, we have to learn from our mistakes. in regard to that, do we know for example, have we investigated any of this occurred at any of the other basic training branches? what is hard for me to believe is in the last three years at lackland there is something
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specific in to that environment that didn't happen somewhere else at a different time. can you speak of the scope of the investigation and whether there has been a indication of problems anywhere else? >> i do know and i won't speak for the other services. i do know each one of them at the direction of the secretary of defense has reviewed the report that we have written on it and looked at the issues and have applied to their system. there was a review done by the other services. i cannot speak to what they found as a result of their reviews but they have looked at it. >> congressman, also the secretary of defense asked general rice to come forward and give him an update on what he was finding.
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as a result of that initial update the secretary ordered an assessment of military training and programs for all the services. that is ongoing. it will be delivered here shortly. i don't remember the exact delivery date but it will be in the next couple of months. anything that is learned from this it will shared between the services. the council will be able to communicate with the other services and the training programs and make those connections for routine not just when it occurs. we hope to share all of this with the other services. they have be briefed on the investigation and the findings. all of that has been orchestrated but the defense office. >> finally, have you seen an affect on recruiting and what is the affect of the moral at the soldiers at lackland? >> no impact that i can tell and we've looked on recruiting. we are still able to attract the best and brightest men and women that our nation has to offer and
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we'll continue to work on that. in terms of moral, this has been a significant emotional event for the people who are responsible for the training program at lackland. i would say in general the reaction of other instructors and supervisors, and leaders when this started to break was one that -- their belief was this a few bad apples. this does not represent any significant number of m.p.i.'s. i think today they understand that although it is 4% of the population, 4% is 32 m.t.i., a much larger number that anyone would have suspected existed. so they have had to both
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recognize that this is in fact, a real problem. they had to recognize that they have a significant part to play in addressing the problem. i think they have embraced the changes, many of them have run against the tradition of the way we have done things in the past. but a part of what we're doing and we aren't there yet, this is an ongoing process is to work with the m.t.i.'s to have them understand that they have to take control of this issue. if we are going to be fully successful, they have to be part of the solution. and this is an ongoing process, i think of transformation that we're on our way towards but i'm not in any way ready to declare victory.
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>> thank you, general. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. runyan. >> thank you, chairman. kind of getting to talking about culture environment. compare the air force to other services and you talk about environment, how much of it -- have either of you ran the numbers or seen any numbers? how much of this people who will are comfortable in their situation and created a bad environment instead of having changeover and holding people accountable more often than not? general rice, do you see where i'm going with that? >> let me tans question, if i don't answer it fully please re- ask it. i agree having people in an environment that can be as challenging as basic military training for too long a period of time exposes them to, i think, issues and challenges that could be corrosive over time.
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we have to watch how long we allow people to serve in these situations. we're going to restrict the amount of time how long you could serve as an instructor it is going to be three years, it used to be four years. we're going to divide the duty day so you will not have contact with trainees. it is a way of getting at this issue of exposure over time that could be corrosive. culture is used in a negative way. every group of people, whether it is two, 200, or 2,000 people. most aspects of developing culture is positive.
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there are lots of elements of culture that will i want to have as part of basic military training as part of trainees and trainers. this way they can enforce the training they have to have in this environment. you have to be careful with a culture because over time it can develop negative elements that you have to be careful about. part of the changes we have made are to ensure that in addition to the people who are part of basic military training who have come back for a second or third assignment, which is important to have a right experience levels. we also have more people who are not part of the culture, if you will, in terms of having previous experience. it is why the most senior enlisted level we're bringing in chief master sergeants who have
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not been former military instructors because it gives a fresh outside perspective that is important to inject these group of people. >> you did answer the question, thank you. as we are as an society, if you see something, say something. when you're in a situation in a group and you have personal relationships with your buddy, you will tend not to raise that question. as far as -- what do you do -- is there anything you can do on a disciplinary aspect of it to have more stringent penalties? to discourage behavior that we're discussing?
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>> we have a behavior that we demand of our instructors. there has been disciplinary action taken because people knew of things that they did not report in the right way. i have a set of policies that requires reporting any maltreatment or mall training. if anyone sees something that is maltreatment then they have to report it that is part of the accountability for the standards we put in place. there is a sanction. i would say when this works properly, that is sort of a secondary, you know, way to address the problem. when we have it working in a way we need it to work to be most effective, the instructors and people within the system -- it will be self-correcting in a way that i don't have to use the hammer. this is a work in progress.
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i think we have to recognize regardless of the screens that i use to bring people in, i'm still going to have some people that i have to use a variety of tools on to achieve the results. >> i yield back. >> mrs. davis. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you generals for being here. as you know a few of us had the opportunity to go to lackland. i want to commend them for opening up the facility and allowing us access. their discussion with us was very compelling.
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i wonder if you have or how you have engaged them particularly because they have good background from which to speak about this? certainly feeling ostracized. on this whole issue of culture and bystanders that have information that is not shared. how was that information used when you move forward? and did you actually talk to them? one of the things we heard from them which was surprising, that nobody asked them. >> thank you, congresswoman davis. i appreciate the question. when major general woodward conducted her investigation she had an extensive piece of her research work which involved talking to instructors and several of her recommendations are based directly on that feedback that she got from the instructors. the wing commander who is in
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place now and the group commander that is in place now, who is directly responsible for basic military training. he conducted a series of engagements with the instructors. the first thing that the new wing commander did was sit down with all the instructors and had a session to let them know what his expectations were, importantly, to convey to them clearly what the outside world was thinking about this. and also to get feedback from them and let them know he was open to their assessment of what we flood to do to move forward. he -- we need to do to move forward. >> this is important. one of the things we did here and i'm assuming it was relayed as well.
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having some informal -- this sounds like a contrary but informal mandatory meetings. so everyone has a chance to sit down and talk about what they see. trying to get these issues of culture, environment, i think most people don't believe you actually get there. having the opportunity to sit down and -- if it's mandatory then everybody is doing it and it doesn't mean someone is going and telling on their peers, which is a wig problem that you all have discovered, i know. i didn't quite see that in the recommendations. where does that issue fall when it comes to the broader areas of recruiting and review that not recruiting and review that not have all been instituted yet.

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Road to the White House
CSPAN January 28, 2013 12:30am-2:00am EST

Series/Special. The candidates, issues and events shaping the presidential race.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 24, Lackland 13, Britain 7, Marshall 5, United States Air Force 2, Smith 2, European Union 2, Mr. Smith 2, San Antonio 2, Europe 2, Washington 2, Ms. Sanchez 1, Davis 1, Mr. Runyan 1, Mr. Wilson 1, Michael Donnelly 1, Welch 1, Mrs. Davis 1, Mr. Coffman 1, Leon Panetta 1
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